What is automatic transmission fluid?
Automatic transmission liquid (ATF) is the liquid utilized in vehicles with programmed transmissions. It’s generally red or green.
Why should you check the automatic transmission fluid level?
Automatic transmission oil is the lifeblood of the transmission. The fluid produces the hydraulic pressure required to operate the transmission. It also cools and lubricates the transmission. When the liquid level is low, the pump can draw air into the system. Air in the hydraulic system interrupts the correct flow of automatic transmission fluid. Damage can occur very quickly when the transmission fluid is low.
How to check the automatic transmission fluid level?
For transmissions with dipstick, the procedure is the same as described above.
Most Ford, Toyotas, GM and other vehicles no longer have an automatic transmission dipstick to check the fluid level. Automakers are removing automatic transmission gauge rods. Newer transmissions are much more complex than older models, and transmission oil levels are much more critical. Special procedures are required to check the automatic transmission fluid level on these models.
If you want to go further, learn how to change the automatic transmission fluid:
- Drain transmission oil: First disconnect the cooling line from the transmission to the radiator. Connect a piece of rubber tubing to the pipe and place the free end of the tubing in an empty container. Start the engine and let it idle. Gear oil should flow into the reservoir from the cooling line. As soon as the fluid stops flowing, switch off the engine. You can then reconnect the cooling line to the cooler.
- Remove the screws that secure the oil pan to the bottom of the transmission.
- Clean the drip pan with gear oil.
- Replace the filter.
- Replace the gasket.
- Replace the pan: once the filter and seal are in place, place the pan back on the gearbox. Tighten the screws by hand the first few turns so that you do not strip the thread. Then use a torque wrench to finish tightening the bolts. Do not tighten the screws too tight, otherwise the threads in the gearbox will be damaged and the pan will be dented.
- Add automatic transmission fluid: Dexron III ATF is the most commonly used. Refer to the owner’s manual for information on selecting the appropriate automatic transmission fluid. Also check the crowd.
If your vehicle hesitates when your automatic transmission shifts, check the transmission fluid level before you see a mechanic, talk about servicing or adjusting your transmission, or selling you a new one. To check your automatic transmission fluid, look for a dipstick handle that protrudes from your transmission. This is located at the rear of vehicles with rear-wheel drive as shown here: an in-line engine:
Where can I find the transmission oil dipstick in an engine online?
If your vehicle has front-wheel drive, the transmission fluid dipstick protrudes from the transaxle, as shown here.
Where can I find the transmission oil dipstick if you have front wheel drive?
The fluid level in a manual transmission must be checked with the vehicle on a hoist so that the technician can reach a plug in the bottom of the transmission
To check your automatic transmission fluid, do the following:
- Pull out the dipstick. Let your engine run with the gear shift in neutral or park and the parking brake applied. Make sure the engine is warm when you remove the dipstick. (Do not stop the engine.)
- Check the fluid. Dip the tip of your index finger into the liquid on the dipstick and rub the liquid between your finger and the tip of your thumb. The transmission fluid on the dipstick should be pink and almost clear. If it looks, smells, or has particles in it, have a mechanic drain it and change the fluid.
- Wipe the dipstick with a clean, lint-free rag. Then put it back in and pull it out again. If the transmission fluid is clear but does not reach the “full” line on the dipstick, use a funnel to pour just enough transmission oil into the dipstick tube to reach the line. Don’t overcrowd!
There are several types of gear oil. Each is designed for a specific type of automatic transmission. Newer transmissions from major automakers require a different fluid than older ones. With so many different types of transmissions out there these days, check your owner’s manual or your car dealership to find out what type of fluid your vehicle needs.
A faulty transmission and a low-fluid transmission share many of the same symptoms! If your vehicle is hesitant when your automatic transmission shifts, check the transmission fluid level before letting a mechanic start talking about servicing or tuning your transmission, or selling you a new one. Adding transmission fluid costs much less than replacing the entire transmission system!
SYMPTOMS OF LOW TRANSMISSION FLUID
Your vehicle ought not lose programmed transmission liquid during ordinary activity, so if the level is low there is a decent possibility that there is a break some place. Consult a service professional immediately for referral to avoid possible transmission damage. Additionally, some automatic transmissions do not have a dipstick or may require a service professional to inspect the automatic transmission fluid level. Consult the owner’s or maintenance manual for the vehicle.
STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS FOR CHECKING THE TRANSMISSION FLUID OF YOUR VEHICLE
- Park the vehicle on a level surface, set the parking brake and start the engine. Leave the car in neutral or park. Allow the engine to warm up and continue to run throughout the operation, unless otherwise specified in the vehicle owner’s manual. (Note that some [automatic transmission fluid levels are checked with the engine switched off. (See owner’s manual.)
- Locate the automatic transmission dipstick, usually near the point where the transmission or transmission meets the back of the engine. It looks similar to the dipstick.
- Remove the automatic transmission dipstick. Wipe it clean, reinsert it all the way, and then remove it again. CAUTION: LIQUID CAN BE HOT!
- Note the markings at the end of the dipstick. Your dipstick may have two “full” marks - warm and cold. If the automatic transmission fluid level does not reach the “warm” line, you will need to add automatic transmission fluid.
- Insert a long funnel into a hole for the automatic transmission dipstick. Carefully add automatic transmission fluid in small increments and check the level again each time until the fluid level reaches the “warm” line. CAUTION: DO NOT OVERFILL OR LEAVE AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION FLUID ON HOT ENGINE PARTS!
- Fully reinsert the automatic transmission dipstick. You are done!
Frequently asked Questions:
1. Check your transmission fluid if it’s hot or cold?
Pull out fluid indicator and check the level. When the engine is cool, it should be at the top of the “COLD” mark. When the engine is hot, the level should be at the top of the “HOT” mark. If it is lower, add a certain amount of automatic transmission fluid
2. Is the transmission fluid checked with the car on or off?
Park the vehicle on a level surface, apply the parking brake and start the engine. Leave the car in neutral or park. Allow the engine to warm up and continue to run throughout the operation, unless otherwise specified in the vehicle owner’s manual. (Note that some automatic transmission fluid levels are checked with the engine off.
3. What if you overfill the transmission fluid?
If you add too much gear oil you will find that it can foam and this can lead to erratic shifting. … If an automatic transmission is overfilled, the fluid foams, which leads to shifting problems, a lack of oil and transmission damage.
4. Do manual cars have gear oil?
Yes, a manual also needs gear oil. However, the type of fluid used can vary from car to car. Some manuals require regular engine oil; others work best with automatic transmission oil. So make sure you pour in the fluid specified for your car.